Mr. Roach...I read the blog regularly but I'm sorry to say that I do not know how to send comments into it....Computer know how I don't have so I hope you don't mind this e-mail into your school...I have watched Mr. Hwa's introductory dvd 3 times. After spending the last 10 years doing Chen, Yang- Zhen Duo, and Chen Man- Ching styles I am forced to conclude that some Tai Chi is not Tai Chi. I claim no expertise in any of it but I am an excellent student...I practice constantly and enjoy it. What Mr. Hwa is doing on the DVD is like nothing I've ever seen.....not because it's compact since CMC style is such....but because of the subleties in movement. To really learn what he's doing would take a major commitment...as you are well aware. It just seems to me that somebody dropped the ball.somewhere along the line. All these medical studies about Tai Chi have got to be BS...since there rocks and there are diamonds......I know the stuff works since i have experience but what I'm seeing in Classical T.C. is so much different than what most of what passes for tai chi........Please don't feel that you have to respond to this...it's a rambling comment but I had to make it..I'm glad I have become aware of your blog and Stephen Hwa but I am a bit pissed off. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to relax.........CMC style does that for me.....but now I see this Thank you four your time and your eye opening blog........Respectfully, Dennis, New Jersey
I appreciate this letter very much and since you state that there was an intent to send it to the Blog I have published it here. I think it has the “right stuff” to comprise a good article or certainly a mini-discussion about what you say.
I suspect for some time now that there are people such as yourself who have this experience of doing some mainstream Tai Chi and finding that it comes up wanting. I should reiterate as well that I was one of them. I use the term “horseless carriage” regarding my automobiles, because I still feel after many years that I was taken on buggy rides for decades by the Tai Chi that I encountered in my many, many travels to Canada. My questions were frequently dismissed, criticized or even laughed at. My teachers and fellow students were always right up front with their sometimes very personal criticism of me, so I feel I can do no less here. Why should I be diplomatic here? They never were...
Give it all the commitment you can. What I got in terms of skill, I got from my own personal commitment, development, hard work, analyzing and thinking things through, not from any of my teachers and certainly not from my fellow students for they were no help whatsoever. I got it from much time and effort in my backyard or my very small living room. I got it from much time and effort in running a studio where I found that teaching others gave me incredible amounts back in the way of learning. Once in a great while, one finds diamonds in the rough, I have a few diamond like and great students who really appreciate this.
Do I think that Taoist, Yang Cheng Fu and Wu Style are lacking? Indeed, I do and teachers/practitioners can make it reek even more. I have published much in this Blog on what I find deficient in those styles…because as what happened to you, I stumbled across Hwa Laoshi’s website.
All my so called skill and rationales about what I learned went right out the window for I had learned “external” Tai Chi and it comes up short next to "internal" Tai Chi. Tai Chi desperately needs saving and with what Young Wabu and Stephen Hwa have done, both Yang and Wu Style at least have a chance of living. You are right, all the so called "studies" of medical benefits are indeed what you say, because the Tai Chi they are measuring is "external", not internal.
I cannot be truly criticized for what I say, for unlike the 99% I have experienced both Classical Tai Chi and their Tai Chi as well. I do occasionally hear from people who "think" they are doing internal and will not listen to reason. Simply because one moves from the hip or even the core or engages the core or hip does not necessarily make what they do "internal". One might say, they have found necessary conditions for internal but not necessarily sufficient ones.
On other occasions, I find that I am not engaged in polite discussion but will hear taunts. One is resorting to a call to physical violence, when confronted by something that is as logical and has as much rationale as any scientific discipline? That sounds no better that the typical childlike discussions one frequently sees on Youtube or a schoolyard bully. I surmise that if one resorts to such mockery, both literally and figuratively they both figuratively and literally do not have a leg to stand on. For the many who laugh, mock, make jokes, criticize and generally spout nonsense about Classical Tai Chi, quite frankly, they have no idea of what they are talking about.
Why is this? Because they have not done Classical Tai Chi, so how can it be criticized, by even the top most Masters? An opinion about this is just that…an opinion, albeit an educated one. I often find that typically in what is largely a self serving discussion for their style, there is much drivel in the various Forums, email groups and so called discussions of Stephen Hwa’s Youtube videos. It reminds me of children attempting to discuss geopolitics or the national debt on the Internet.
I hope my own teacher is not upset but I put much of my personal feelings into this because your letter touched me. So Dennis, my heart goes out to you and I completely understand and appreciate what you say. I strongly urge you to get the DVD series if you have not already done so, for as I say, it is indeed in one’s own personal commitment that they will find fulfillment. There are indeed “rocks and there are diamonds” but needless to say, I have found Classical Tai Chi and my teacher Hwa Laoshi to be treasure. Treasure is more...is it not?